Hey, where'd you go?

Noelle Quinn - former WNBA, UCLA and Bishop Montgomery superstar

March 09, 2021 Collin Kushner / Noelle Quinn Season 1 Episode 8
Hey, where'd you go?
Noelle Quinn - former WNBA, UCLA and Bishop Montgomery superstar
Chapters
Hey, where'd you go?
Noelle Quinn - former WNBA, UCLA and Bishop Montgomery superstar
Mar 09, 2021 Season 1 Episode 8
Collin Kushner / Noelle Quinn

After a successful playing career in the WNBA, Noelle Quinn's love and passion for helping others led her to the world of coaching. The former fourth overall pick — in the 2007 WNBA draft — talks about growing up in Los Angeles, her prep career at Bishop Montgomery, committing to UCLA, being drafted by the Minnesota Lynx, what she learned from playing in the WNBA, the strong bond with her mom,  and so much more. Today, Noelle pulls double duty as an assistant coach of the Seattle Storm and head coach of the girls basketball program at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, CA. She's now giving back, in more ways than one, empowering the next wave of female basketball stars. 


Show Notes Transcript

After a successful playing career in the WNBA, Noelle Quinn's love and passion for helping others led her to the world of coaching. The former fourth overall pick — in the 2007 WNBA draft — talks about growing up in Los Angeles, her prep career at Bishop Montgomery, committing to UCLA, being drafted by the Minnesota Lynx, what she learned from playing in the WNBA, the strong bond with her mom,  and so much more. Today, Noelle pulls double duty as an assistant coach of the Seattle Storm and head coach of the girls basketball program at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, CA. She's now giving back, in more ways than one, empowering the next wave of female basketball stars. 


Noelle Quinn:

To me, the growth of my players, mind , body, soul spirits, all that is more important than wins and losses.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] .

Collin Kushner:

Hey everyone. Welcome to another edition of the "Hey, where'd you go?" podcast... I'm your host, Colin Cushner. And this week we have another fantastic guest. We have BMHS hall of Famer, UCLA hall of Famer and WNBA champ, Noelle Quinn, Noelle, how are ya?

Noelle Quinn:

Oh, it is , well, I can't complain. Thanks for having me.

Collin Kushner:

I'm really excited to have you thank you for taking the time. And obviously I love the glasses. We're both rocking for those of you watching the YouTube version. I know you were born and raised in Los Angeles, where in Los Angeles did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

Noelle Quinn:

So I grew up , um, near Inglewood. Um, I like to, you know, LA so big it's off of Manchester and Western. Um, I grew up with , uh , my older sister and my mom. My mom was an educator for about 35 years. So off the rip, like education was super important for me and for us. Um, I got into basketball very early. Um, it was kind of organically in that I was just playing at recess with , um , the boys and things like that. Or my teacher, my mom reminded me that I was playing with my teacher against the boys and meeting everyone at an early age. Um , my childhood, it was great, you know, I think , um, you know, even though I was within , uh, a world in which we lived in like our street in LA, I think my mom did an amazing job of , um, making sure that I received a private school education, worked her butt off to have me in private school and as well as my sister , um, and then had, you know, a wealth of knowledge in both worlds. And I think , um, science sports early , um, really connected me with a lot of other people. Um, my schooling connected me with a lot of other people. And so, I mean, I had a great childhood , um, shout out to my mom for just raising my sister and I, and , um, you know, making sure that we valued family as well.

Collin Kushner:

How important was investing your time in a sport like basketball early on in terms of growth?

Noelle Quinn:

I mean, you know, you don't really know that as a child, how important it is or how important it will be until you're sitting here with you and thinking back, you know , on it. I think, you know, having to be , um, playing sports so early, I just think it exposed me to different people in general. You know, I was playing basketball with the boys, you know, at that time they didn't have all girls league. And so you're just an athlete at that time. Young even realize that, you know, at that point you are essentially a superhero powers . If that you're the only, you know , female young girl playing in months , monks boys, you just out there having fun. Um, and I just think that just cultivated my love for the game. Um, I think that, you know, not only was I playing hooks , but I was just making friends and making connections in some that I still have to this day. So I would contend that playing sports at an early age is , you know, expose me to different things.

Collin Kushner:

That's one of the reasons why I love sports so much and why I love being involved in sports as a journalist , because it's interesting to hear the stories of how that particular sport has connected an athlete from a young age, whether it be getting through a tough time, staying on the straight and narrow path. It's always interesting to hear those stories.

Noelle Quinn:

It provided me some focus and insight for me , um, for my life and , um, just consistency and all these things that you, that life teaches you. I feel like basketball taught me the editor early age.

Collin Kushner:

Did you have any other interests as a kid or was it strictly basketball? Because I did read on your UCLA profile that you play the piano as well. You're a pianist.

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. I think that I, you know, I learned, again, shout out to my mom. Like I wanted to play like the little food, little, the phone, The recorder, that's what it is. Um , like that makes no notes like, but she was like , um, you know, she learned how to play the piano early. And I had, we had a piano in our grandmother's house. I grew up, grew up in a duplex. And so my grandmother lived right next door to us and she had a piano. So I'm in second grade. Um, this company, Roscoe school, the music they came on campus and, you know, whereas, or offering music westerns . And from there, I started taking lessons in second grade and , um, I still play now. I have a piano in my home.

Collin Kushner:

That's really cool though. Basketball playing the piano. Obviously you attended high school at Bishop Montgomery. I used to cover them. It's a basketball powerhouse. And you had a ton of success there , four state titles in four years, you even won one playing volleyball as well. What were those experiences like? And did you expect to have so much success? Uh, all four years of high school.

Noelle Quinn:

I didn't. Um, honestly , um, and genuinely I was just working hard and enjoying the moment. Um, again, you don't realize the impact or you don't realize what you did until you kind of take a step back and kind of remember those or , you know, listen and see the accolades or look on the wall in the gym, you know, but , um, I honestly was just , um , just trying to do my best. And in that, I mean, we , we won so much and winning just became the norm for us. Um, and yes, we won four state. We won three CIF, titles and laws , and I still, as much as I won, I still remember that game. I still remember it . And , uh , my, my feeling after that game and I was like, dang, did I ? I felt weak once much, but I did think winning became a habit. But before that working hard became my habit. Um, and Bishop is a tough school, like academically as well in honors classes. And, you know, sometimes not getting a lot of sleep because I'm turning in work, but also having to practice and, you know, commuting to school and things like that. But I just think , um, again, just enjoying who I was around , um, being empowered by everyone, our staff or faculty or principal was amazing. It's living. It was just fun. You know, Bishop's a small community, know everyone, you know, everyone's names and that made it more, I think , um, fulfilling now as person as a you're, you're accomplishing something, not only for yourself and your team, but your entire school, putting your school on the map,

Collin Kushner:

Noel, you talked about something very important enjoying the moment. How do you get one, somebody to enjoy the moment because we're all always looking into the future, looking back in the past. And I feel like the art of mindfulness and enjoying the moment is a lost art.

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. I wasn't, I mean, you know, you, again, you learn a lot of things as an adult, so I'm not quite sure that I was an expert in enjoying the moment, cause I'm sure I kind of failed a lot in that aspect as a young kid, not understanding or not knowing that it's going to be okay, I'm moving moment by moment. It's kind of valued , find success , um , find balance in that. And um, I think it's a , it's a constant assess reassess. I think, you know, you go into gym and you think about , um, say you're working out or you're working on your arm muscles or whatever muscle group you're working on for the day. Probably arms to not all people work on their legs, but it's like, you're building, you know , this muscle memory in that sense. And you , you want, you want a certain aesthetic, you want a certain look. And I think people don't really do that with their minds. Um, I think it's important to continue to build up your muscle memory in your mind in that , um, enjoying the moment is it's a, it's a daily process is , uh , um, you have to condition yourself and you will fail. You will succeed. But I think, you know, as a kid, it was just like, every basketball was fun too. It wasn't, I wasn't getting paid for it. There was another agenda, you know, we weren't, I wasn't going to get bonus for winning and , you know, it was just for the love of the game. And I think that probably was like the biggest thing that helped in understanding , um, just how to be and how to play

Collin Kushner:

As a coach. Now, obviously at your Alma mater, Bish Montgomery and in the w MBA , how do you impart that knowledge on high school athletes and then professional athletes as well?

Noelle Quinn:

For my , um, young ladies that they share Montgomery. Um, I talk about this all the time for me. I'm not just a coach, I'm a mentor. Um, I'm a confidant , um , I'm a disciplinary. Um, and so everyday I approach the way I coach as a day to teach in a day to learn as well. Um, so I'll do things like having a quote of the week, things like that because to me, the growth of my players, mind, body, soul spirits , all that is more important than wins and losses. And yeah, we want to win, but my impact is much greater. Um, I feel like to, to show them , um , that basketball, isn't the only thing. And so, you know, every day I value my time with them and every day I try to pour into them and every day it's a blessing for me because it's like, I see like the confidence shift, I see the growth and it's not necessarily like making a layup , I guess, just like, you know, a whole or attitude. And then in the WBA, the difference is that you're, they're grown women. It's like, you shouldn't have to motivate a grown woman. But , um, what what's unique in my situation is that I'm coaching my friends or my teammates that I played with. And the respect level that I receive is one that , um, it helps me to, you know, to , to speak to them and to just push them sometimes when I see them slacking or it's a help them where I see maybe there is some confusion or whatever the case may be, but our team does a great job of , um , just setting the standard of , um, we're coming to work. We're coming to win a championship as be professional that , um, I don't have to do a lot of that. I just have to just, you know, impart the knowledge, make sure we're our scatter report is on point and that we're able to win games, but then in positions to win games ,

Collin Kushner:

I don't want to lose sight of your prep career. I know we briefly touched on it a few minutes ago. Again, You won all those championships, but you had so much success individually, all eyes were on you. Was that difficult as a teenager to , to handle all that? Or , or what was that like? Cause again, I'm just, you're , you're random dude who was in high school. I never, I never had those experiences. So I'm always curious to understand the psyche behind that.

Noelle Quinn:

I'll just give a brief story. Um, one of my friends, like she's my good friend to this day, Irene, Fernando, we had freshmen English together and you know, I'm quiet in the classroom and I think we partnered up and she's like asking about, do I praise , maybe basketball came up or whatever. And this was probably for first semester of freshman year. So nobody really knows me. Like I just made varsity on volleyball, but I'm not like a great volleyball player at that point. Um, and so I may have said something about like, you know, my basketball and what I want to do and things like that. And she's like, she's a jokester. So , so she's says to her sister, like, do you know this girl, like even at basketball conditioning, she's talking like, kind of like, hi , but not, you know, and you know, just expressing my love. And so freshman year they , you know, we won and obviously I had an amazing freshman year and an amazing career in general. And so she talks about that all, all the time. Like she was just like a freshman JB type of player, but she's looking at this like me, like, who are you? You know what I'm saying? And then look who I turned out to be. And so in that, in the spirit of that, I said, I enjoyed, you know, turning people's heads. I enjoyed opening people's eyes because I'm not a boisterous person. Like I'm not, you know, cocky in any way. I was just humbly sitting in my English, freshmen, honors, honors class and expressing my love for the game. Um , and the intern , I think that is probably what drew people toward me because I'm just normal. I didn't see myself above anybody. Um, even in the way that I played, I made sure I empowered all my teammates and made them better because when I knew when they were better, our whole team was better. But I also knew I had to take over a game and things like that. But I think just for me being a humble spirit, allowed people to see me for who I am. Um, so like I gained so many different friendships and so many cool people I met along the way. Um, but I, there was no pressure because I didn't put that pressure on me. And I was legit doing something that I really, really love doing.

Collin Kushner:

That's the best approach one could take at any age high school, college, or in the pros taking that humble approach and knowing on the inside what you bring to the table, but on the outside, conveying that humbleness working hard and you hit on it, uplifting your teammates and not disregarding them

Noelle Quinn:

Service . They , um, when I'm around, you know, especially in the WBA when I'm around these superstars and, and, and kind of looking at how their minds work, you know, the best players that I've been around, always empower everyone else, always instill confidence in everyone else because they understand, I , our team is only going to be as good as, you know, the weakest link or whatever you say, but it's just a , it's a matter of making sure everyone feels good because everyone has a role in what we do. And I think, you know, I can tell you stories about that as well. Like I, wasn't the only one that always came through, you know, at Bishop to an important games, like it was sometimes the kid or the young lady who, you know, and I was constantly pouring into like, shoot that shot. Like you're open, you have a great shot, like catch these balls. You're you have your biggest target out that , you know, in constantly, constantly. And then in special moments, you see the confidence and you see that they, they came through for us as well.

Collin Kushner:

In some ways, I feel like your rise to coaching began during your high school years in empowering your teammates and saying, Hey, shoot the ball because let's face it. Noel . When you're such a high profile, high powered athlete, everyone's looking at you and assuming, Ooh , there's barely any time on the clock left, I should just defer to you. So I think that's amazing that you were like, Hey, no suit

Noelle Quinn:

The shot . I've always got the , um, feedback that I always played as a coach, like on the floor, even as a player, it's like, I'm buying . And that was at an early age too. So yeah, like what you alluded to, I think in, you know, naturally I was cultivating or honing in on my coaching skills and not really knowing, you know,

Collin Kushner:

It's back to the theme of what we were saying of , um , enjoying the moment, but as a kid, not really knowing and all that, it's the same, it's almost the same theme that continues on, which is w which is poetic and, and a little entertaining at the same time. I have to ask you, what was the recruiting process like, obviously you ended up attending UCLA, was it , uh , did you find it to be a fun experience and arduous experience?

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah, I found it to be very , um, this flattering early on, you know, I think I realized early on in my recruiting process that I wanted to stay home. And so are the Git , and this is probably bad, but you know, talking to Tennessee, talking to Yukon and saying, Hey , uh, non , sorry, I want to stay at home. Who does that? Maybe again back, maybe that was something I should have

Collin Kushner:

You said no to Pat summit and Gino Ariana ,

Noelle Quinn:

Right. That's crazy.

Collin Kushner:

I'm having a heart attack Noelle.

Noelle Quinn:

And , uh, I was really, really connected with UCLA in middle school, our religion class. We had an assignment. So write about ourselves or write a letter to ourselves , um, forget the range, maybe five or 10 years saying where we would want to be, what we , what , what, what we want it to do and what we want it to be. And , um, our teacher, Mr. Susi T mailed us that letter. And when I read it where I was at, I believe I was out of college or maybe in college, in the letter, I said that I wanted to go to UCLA and I want it to be in the WPA . And I found that letter the probably a couple of months ago. Um, so when I looked back at my recruiting process, I understand that in Ailey , I was probably already wanting to go to UCLA, but not really knowing until I looked at this letter years later. Um, and so my re my recruiting process, you know, a lot of coaches came to campus. A lot of coaches, you know, playing in front of a lot of coaches, but it came down to Stanford and UCLA. And again, I had a strong connection with UCLA, went to their teen camps , like , um, got really cool with their coaching staff , um, their players. And I think it became a heart versus a mind , uh , decision and, you know, Stanford, you know, obviously you have to get into the school first. It's very academic heavy before athletics. Um, and so I don't know, something just happened one day. And I was like, Nope, I want to go to UCLA. Didn't even go on my visits. But I was, it was like a strong heart decision. And I think, you know, being in , uh , staying home, having my mom and my family, being, being able to watch me going to a program that wasn't as established as Tennessee or Yukon, but building up a program, I think it was more for, would it be more fulfilling for me at that point? Um, and those are the decisions that came into it. And so later on in the process, a little bit more arguments , arguments then like flattering because it's like, Oh shoot, I'm making like a life decision. And me how I am, I'm going to hurt somebody's feelings. Like that was kinda my thought process. Like, I don't wanna hurt [inaudible] feelings, you know what I mean? But I got to go with my heart. And I remember that day, I went straight to my coach's office. Like, I'm going to go to UCLA. I called one of my assistant coaches, the assistant coach at the time , um , Tia Jackson, she's just my friend to this day called her right away. Like, Hey, I'm coming call coach Olivia I'm coming. So at that point it was released . But , um, it went from great to stressful a little bit.

Collin Kushner:

Well, it seems like you already knew. I think that's so cool that you've found a letter of you saying I want to play basketball at UCLA. And I also want to play in the WNBA as well.

Noelle Quinn:

It amazed me. And when I opened it up, cause sometimes you think in life again, just thinking back, like, did I make the right decision? Um, you know, how could , what if life is different? What I would, I, what did I, what if I decided something else? But this was the right decision. Because as a kid, I wanted it to happen.

Collin Kushner:

I'm laughing on the inside because I'm hearing your story. And in my head, it's a no brainer . The way that you speak about being close to home and UCLA and family, that that would be your ultimate decision. Yet, if I were in that position, I would be feeling the same way you were in the sense of, Oh, am I going to hurt Tara Vanderveer feelings? Or am I making the wrong decision? It's, it's so funny. The discrepancies of being an outsider, like friend or family, and then actually being the person who has to make that pivotal decision, but you couldn't go wrong in that situation

Noelle Quinn:

Again, I think about, okay, what if I would've went to Stanford? You know, she's a hall of fame coach, like USA basketball, maybe my, how my game would be a little bit different. I don't know. You know what I mean? I do think about that as well, but yeah, I mean, two of the best universities in the world with us say, you know, either, like you're saying, I couldn't have gone wrong with either , either decision and I'm still very happy with my decision and how my life has turned out.

Collin Kushner:

I just wanted to let you know that I actually interviewed Tara Vanderveer a few months ago. And the first thing she said to me, she said, Colin, I know you're going to be chatting with Noel Quinn in about five months. And just let her know that I'm still disappointed to this day that she picked UCLA over Stanford.

Noelle Quinn:

Tara is not thinking about me. First of all, you know , congrats, Katara on all her wins and all her success. She is not thinking about little oatmeal .

Collin Kushner:

Thank you for knowing that that was a joke because that adds a very dry sense of humor. And sometimes I get the feeling that I'll say something like that, and somebody will be like, wait, wait. They really said that about me. And then I say, no, you go to UCLA again, you have a ton of success there and you get to do it in front of friends and family. And obviously your mom , um, such a pivotal role and role model in your life. What did that mean to you to have the opportunity for her to see you play whenever she wanted to?

Noelle Quinn:

Right. And just to, let me give you just a little bit more background, my mom, out of all the games I played in high school, she only missed one game and that she missed that game because she had parent teacher conference to the teacher . So she had to up, you know what I mean? Um, and then my college career, my mom came to every single game, my senior year. So just to put that in context context, she's not, she's my superhero. Like sometimes I would be thinking like, wow, like how can she be everywhere? How can she do every, all of these things for me? So that's how important it was for me to stay home because she was so committed to me and who I was. And in turn I've everything I do really in my life now , um , is for her. Um , and because of her. And so it, for me, it was a no brainer to say, I'll go to UCLA. Like I have a 30 minute drive home, depending on traffic drive home to do laundry, to still get a home cooked meal, to see my mom every day. Like to me, that's a no brainer because of the connection that we form , the passion compassion that she had for me, the love that she showed , um, the, the sacrifices that she made for me and my sister and our entire family. I just think that to me was like probably if not the most important thing on my list, because I'm big on just not taking my mom or family for granted. And I'm big on not taking my days for granted. Um, and so if I had the opportunity to be at home and be close to her, like no brainer,

Collin Kushner:

It's a beautiful thing. And I think it's something that people on the outside overlook, I think you see schools like Tennessee and Yukon and the big time programs that UCLA UCLAs and people are automatically going to assume, just like I said earlier, you turn down Pat summit in Geno Auriemma. But if you actually, if you're in your inner circle, it makes sense. Like, I totally get why you went to UCLA and , and you stay at home because there are more important things than basketball and stuff.

Noelle Quinn:

Again, this is a perspective maybe as you grow and learn and get older in life, you figured it out. But I just think that's what I've always been as a human being. And maybe, maybe I'm not a leader lead elite because I don't put back like the elite put basketball like on top and they sacrifice so much. That's why they're so great. And what they do, I'm just kinda like, Oh, that's all it was basketball. I love to spend time with my family. Like I love to do other things. Um, so yeah, that's the Y isn't the only thing. Um, it, isn't everything. It's a great thing. Um, but you know, life, you don't want life to pass you by and say like, man, I wish I had spent more time with this person. I wish I would have had an opportunity to say this to this person.

Collin Kushner:

I've love that. And I think that also serves you well on the hardwood , especially now as a coach, because that's something that you can impart on your high school players and obviously your players at the professional level level, whether or not they listen is, is a totally different story. But I think it opens , it opens up your eyes and your years about what's

Noelle Quinn:

A lot of times when I'm speaking to my kids, I'm like, are they listening to what I'm saying? Like, I'm not just wasting my air right now, but then there are moments where I hear them talking in their , their conversations and saying things that I said to them or bringing up, Hey, remember when coach said this? And so it's like, okay, it's gratifying. They are listening in their own different way. I am getting through to them. But if I only get through to one person I'm satisfied

Collin Kushner:

And I think that's the best part. People always look at numbers and try and quantify how many people you impact , um, or that sort of thing. I love how it's, if one person, if I could help one person, then that means a world to you. And from my side of things, I love to just make one person laugh or smile per day. And , uh , tons of people would say, that's a very low bar, and I've said this on previous episodes of the podcast, but that's it just one person. Um, and if you do that each day over the course of a year, it's a lot of people

Noelle Quinn:

And you're living in your purpose, right? If you feel that you are supposed to be no impact one person a day, just, just imagine what that person did for the rest of their day. They might've impacted. So really it's cause you kind of hockey assisted, you know, like you didn't necessarily get this back for the assist or you might've, but now you are not the person that you assisted is now assisting others and they have impacted intern in fact, the more people. So if you think about it like that pyramid scheme , kind of with it ,

Collin Kushner:

We need to get you a Ted talk . Noel you're considered one of the best all around players in UCLA Bruin history. When you hear that, what's the first thing that comes to mind.

Noelle Quinn:

So many greats have, you know, graced that campus . Um, and you know, to be amongst the greats, it, again, wasn't something I strive for aim for. Maybe I should have said that as a goal, but it wasn't. And so our organically to be , um, mentioned amongst , um, UCLA grades in general, you talk about John wooden. When you think about UCLA, think about Kareem Abdul Jabbar. You think about , um, I don't want to leave anyone else out. So I'll just read not only in basketball you think about Jackie Robinson, think about all the other , um, you know, the vis and, and , um, important , uh, people in historical elaborates our campus. Um, I think it's just amazing. Again, it's just humbling. I, I am so happy and proud of the fact that I can say that I'm am a UCLA alum, but even more satisfying and happy and proud to say that I am a hall of Famer. Um, I don't take it for granted and I just, I'm so appreciative of it. Um, and I'm so happy that I put in the work to, to have my name imprinted and in a place that it will never go.

Collin Kushner:

I just want you to know how much I love your humble approach because you're a UCLA hall of Famer. Again, you're, you're, you're , uh , you're a great you're up there with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and many others. Again, I don't want to leave anybody off that list. Um, but you're very humble and even keel about it, which I think serves, serves people well, as they, as they go through their basketball career or coaching or whatever you end up doing

Noelle Quinn:

For sure. And I just it's me. And so I am and who I , um , had made me to be, I think I don't, it doesn't serve me well to talk about myself all the time or , um, you know, that I do have confidence, but I'm not overly cocky that doesn't serve me. Well , that's not who I am. Um, I am a servant. Um, and I, you said you, you feel like if you put a smile on one person's face , um, that you've accomplished with accomplished for that day, I feel like my purpose is to be a light to toward others and to impact others in a way that is not necessarily a way that I'm always consistently like boasting about myself and what I've done, but just being a good example in a blueprint for others and saying like, I there's something special about her. Like, what is that? And to draw those people toward me, it's a see who I really am. Like, I just feel like that's my purpose and I love , I want to live in that every single day. And so, again, it doesn't, you're not going to see me talk, talk about myself and , you know , I'm just not going to do that. And not that I'm not, you know, like proud or anything of that nature, but I just want to serve and help others. And that's the type of spirit and aura that I have.

Collin Kushner:

It takes a very special type of person to be able to look at somebody and see through them and see the potential they have or the special skill set that they have. But again, Noel , that takes that takes time and listening and paying attention. And we live in this fast paced tic talk, Twitter world, where it's , it's like scroll as quickly as you can. Um, and I think that, and I said it earlier, I think that's such a special skill and something that's more important as you know, than basketball,

Noelle Quinn:

You know, in , in listening with the intent, not to necessarily respond in a , I don't think enough people, I don't know the quote, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. I don't know something like that. Don't quote me on that, but I think it's a lost art, just listening to people , um, and just understanding , um, and being empathetic. You know what I mean? Sometimes you don't understand, or we can't necessarily put ourselves in inside other people's shoes, but we can definitely empathize with what they're going through and try to help in any type of way. I pride myself in trying to listen to each one of my players, especially at Bisha Montgomery. So that w w w when I talked to them is not solely about basketball. So I can say, Hey, how's your brother doing? Hey, how's this class going? What book are you guys reading now? And that involves listening and with the intent to actually care and know about someone not to just listen to say, okay, that's cool. You know, just because I'm taking off a box, you know what I mean? And that's just not how I operate, but you bring up a great point. I think just take slow down and listen to people and really hear, yeah .

Collin Kushner:

Slowing down. It's hard. I can tell you from my own experiences, let's just say, I'm brushing my teeth in the morning. I'm already thinking two hours ahead. Oh, it's seven. It's seven. I have a meeting at 9:00 AM. And then obviously the art of mindfulness. I tell myself, Collin , if you're brushing your teeth right now, like that's what you're doing. You're brushing your teeth. So your breath smells great. And, you know, you're, you're, you're practicing oral hygiene. Um, you know what I mean? But we live in that fast paced world where you're in bed and you're looking at your phone and you're not in the moment. Um, it sucks. I hate it.

Noelle Quinn:

I know I don't have an Instagram. So, you know, I feel like that kind of helps me in a sense, I do have Twitter. And for me, Twitter is more like the news than like the pictures that make you feel that your life is boring and maiming list . Right. Um, but yeah, it's, it's, it's just like, you have to really be intentional about, you know, how much time you spend on those things, or, you know, how much time that you want to put into other things. I think I've, I've been more mindful of that too. Like, Hey, you've been scrolling for like five, 10 minutes. Now, put your phone down, let's get to the next thing. Like, make a phone call, you know, talk to someone like do your work or whatever it may be. Um, I think, you know, that the social media aspect of , they knew you had to remember, like I grew up around, I didn't have, I barely had a cell phone in high school and internet just started popping when, like, I mean , middle school, high school, I don't remember, but it's like, I was in high school, still doubting my friends numbers by heart, you know, my cell phone. I , I don't even, I know like three numbers by memory. I still remember the numbers. I was dialing in high school, you know? So our times have definitely changed. Like we are, you know, we're looking at things differently. Like you're saying it's so fast paced, but I think, you know, there are times in life where you have to be intentional about, Hey, today, I'm not going to pick up my phone and open up my app. I'm going to have an actual conversation with someone looking in their eyes, listen to them. Um, so yeah, it's a challenge. It's a challenge.

Collin Kushner:

Noel , your Twitter bio says spread love. It's the way where'd you get that money ?

Noelle Quinn:

Um, it's actually from a , I think notorious, big's a song he says, spread love. It's the Brooklyn way. So I put spread love. I think it's the LA way. Um, I just, I , um , my hardest , big Collin, like I just, if the world had more love, understanding, compassion, I think we'd be in a better place, honestly. And so I think when, when I say spread love, it's just like, again , um, for me, that's living in my purpose, like every day to be able to spread love and impact others. How, how much , um, how much , uh , how , how fulfilling is that? You know what I mean, to, to make somebody's day better? Um, but , but yeah, I think in general we're so , um, we're so bent on like this, you know, receiving likes on social media , um , more than giving our love to people in like every day living, like in actuality, in actual life, like in this virtual world so much, like you have an opportunity to, to just have a conversation with someone in life and impact in a certain way. Like, I think we need to get back to that, you know?

Collin Kushner:

I think so too, because let's face it. If you get a like on Instagram or a like, or retweet on Twitter in the moment. Oh, I didn't know. Sarah Johnson liked my picture. Heck yeah. But you want to know what 15 years later is that really what I'm going to remember or what people are going to remember, but if you do what you've been saying, spread the love and show love and , and open up your heart and help others in those ways that has , uh , the impact of a lifetime. I love how we have, we go down these different side roads. That's the best part about this podcast is weaving in sports and meaning in life. And , and obviously your story. I don't want to overlook this. You were selected fourth overall in the 2007 w NBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx . This has been one of my favorite questions to ask. Where were you the day you got drafted?

Noelle Quinn:

The day I got drafted, I was in the draft room. Uh, I think it was Cleveland, Ohio, because that's where the final four was that year. Um, I was sitting at the draft table with my mom, my sister, my uncles , um , my age and my , um, UCLA coach. I talked to the whole staff of the Minnesota Lynx . And so as their pick was coming up , um, I leaned over and said to my mom, I'm like, if I'm going to get chosen, this is the team that's going to choose me . And then , uh , the commissioner announces it and it's me. And it's just like surreal, you know what I mean? And as I'm talking to you, like, I feel myself sitting at that table is that's how much I remember that and feel that moment. Um, it was amazing to welcome stage and take my picture and all those other things become blurry because my heart is just like beat it . Like, am I going to have to speak in front of everybody? Um, but I think that it's a day that I will never forget because I got to share it with my family. Um, I fulfilled like a childhood dream that I wrote on a paper that I wanted to be in a WPA . I know in a letter to myself. Um, and then again, you know, I grew up with , I grew up watching the sparks, going to the games and things like that. And so there was this, I think full circle moment of just being a kid, playing basketball, sitting at the forum or sitting at staple center and watching Lisa last week play. And then all of a sudden being able to be in the league with them. Um, again, a moment I won't ever take for granted a moment that still very much , um, makes my heart flutter today. Um , in a moment that is just kind of puts the stamp on , um, you know, how, how my life has been just , uh , a portfolio to say of this hard work and dedication and commitment to , to the people who, who I loved . And so, yeah, I just, that that day was amazing. I'll never forget it.

Collin Kushner:

I love hearing that story and hearing the , the excitement and nostalgia in your voice , um , because you, the picture of the way you painted it, I feel like I'm in that moment with you where, you know , if you close your eyes and that's what I'd want viewers to do close their eyes, if they're listening or watching. So they can almost envision that moment where you get the call and you have your mom and your family and pictures, you know, being taken and, you know, in that you're going to freeze in Minnesota.

Noelle Quinn:

Right? I would like immediately after that, the next day I had to fly out to Minnesota. And so that was around April. Um, and I think they like maybe introduced me at one of the Timberwolves games and the amount of like wind that had cold, mixed with the cold air mixed with. I couldn't even tell you the degrees. First of all, being from LA 60 degrees is cold. It's freezing, freezing, right? Like 60 degrees I'm in Uggs and like , uh , a huge backdate in LA, but it was, I feel like the, the wind chill factor alone, plus it was probably minus something wasn't quite snowy was just icy . I was just like, Oh no, but hang in Minnesota is different. Um, visiting in April and playing in the summer is different. So I didn't really get to experience, had to experience a lot of that, but I was just like, Oh my,

Collin Kushner:

Yeah . You know, somebody is looking out for you when you, you get drafted by a professional franchise in the state of Minnesota, but you don't necessarily have to deal with the cold weather. Someone's looking at Noel .

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah . Shout out to the OJI for sure. Yes.

Collin Kushner:

Over the course of your 12 year w MBA career, you played with five teams. What were those experiences like and what did you learn?

Noelle Quinn:

My experiences were amazing, you know , um, the, my first couple of years in Minnesota, we were a very young team. Um, our coach Dunn's neared and he had just come from the NBA , um, to the women's side. Um, in one of our assistant coaches, I just talked to him yesterday at the Husky , um , is the older gentlemen . Um, they, I really learned a lot as far as Xs and notes , again, just in my mental Rolodex. Maybe I'm just honing my coaching skills throughout my career, not knowing, right. I really learned game gamesmanship and like X's and the notes from him, you know, coming from , uh , the men's game , um , going to LA, I really learned how to become a professional. So I'm playing with Lisa, Leslie, Tina Thompson, Marie Fernand , Harris, Teesha , Pinot Cero, Ebony Hoffman , um, deletion melting , Candace Parker. I got , I've had, I had an opportunity to play with all those players . And from there, I understood how I then should become a professional, like coming from, you know, me and Stella were young. So we didn't have a lot of vets to show the way coming to LA, a lot of vets in my understanding of how to take care of my body. I need to be in the gym first and stay after the shoot more . Um, so I learned that, and then LA was amazing. I love playing in LA because it's like, I'm playing in staples center in front of my mom, you know? Okay . How did this happen? Um, again, fulfilling a dream of mine , um, then onto DC, you know, I learned a lot there as well. Um, playing for Seattle again, a franchise that , um, to me is , uh, the upper echelon of culture and how to operate a franchise , um , playing in Phoenix, you know, obviously being able to play with Diana Taurasi, learning a lot too from that experience. But I think , um, Seattle in general , um, I traveled all these spaces , played with all these teams, but Seattle , um , was the place that I genuinely felt that we were, we cared about each other. Um, and are , we are just kind of worked hard for a common goal, but, but, but what was different was that that truly in genuinely and organically, you know, bonded together and that made our championship run or the years we were building up to get to a championship, it made that more fulfilling. So aside from playing in the WBA , you know , I played overseas as well. And again, learned a lot over there. Uh , won a championship in Korea and was a part of a couple of yearly teams who won championships. So again, every, every, every place, every stop I think I, I try to live in that moment and understand like, why am I going through this? Like, what's the purpose of it? What am I going to get out of it? And in turn, I've taken that now in my career coach, as a coach

Collin Kushner:

Playing with the likes of Lisa, Leslie, Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, just to name a few, did you ever take a step back and just, and just think to yourself, I'm playing with these NBA stars and I grew up watching and now I'm passing the ball to them or they're passing the ball to me. It all goes back to what we talked about earlier being in the moment.

Noelle Quinn:

Right. Um, I don't think probably I did that until after, because while I was in the moment, it was important for me and for them to know that I was a professional as well. And I didn't want them to think any less of me as a teammate that I'm , you know , thinking about, Oh my gosh, I'm playing with someone who I've watched growing up as opposed to, okay, I'm your point guard right now? Where does she like to get the ball? Like, how can we , um, get everybody in ? I played point guard for, for a team that had Candace Lisa deletion, Milton and Tina at the same time, like, you know, lots of options, opt students who also know that they want that option at that moment. You know what I mean? So it's like kinda navigating that. I couldn't just sit there and be a fan. I had to raise my level of game in, in, in mentality and physical ability so that we could, you know, be successful. And it sucks. I think that that team, we should have won a championship with dead scene . And again, you know, it's not only basketball dynamic that mattered , you know, when winning a championship. But I think , um, you know, I , I didn't want them to think any less of me. And so I prided myself in trying to do the work. Um, and I , I was succeeded sometimes and sometimes I felt, but it wasn't till after I look at pictures, I have a picture in my home of, you know, us on a court together or in a like, Oh, wow. I did something very cool that not a lot of players have an opportunity to do within their careers.

Collin Kushner:

I understand what you're saying by trying to keep a level of professionalism, so to speak, as opposed to just your jaw dropping. And you're looking up at Lisa Leslie, and you're like, and she's like, Hey, Noelle, pass me, pass me the ball. And you're like, Oh, sorry. So, so I do, I do understand that, but between that, and then again, not to discredit your time in Seattle or Phoenix or, or Minnesota, but playing in the staple center and having your mom watching you. And it goes back to, to , again, what we talked about earlier , um , barely missing any games at fish , Montgomery and UCLA. That's amazing. Don't look up and see your mom in the ,

Noelle Quinn:

We had season tickets from the beginning for the spark . So at the form , when it, you know, if you watch 11 basketball at the end , um, we were , you were, we were there and I'm like, you know, cause we're fans. And then, you know, Erica McCall is in the starting lineup and we're like, who is that? She does this little thing and I was there. And so when the movie came out, I was like, Oh, okay. Now it all makes sense.

Collin Kushner:

I can say that I'm talking to somebody that was, there was in the movie, love and basketball. I've been waiting to do that my whole life.

Noelle Quinn:

Uh, I I'm waiting for my residual check as well. Um , I , I, I'm wondering that , um, I think , uh, the director of that movie is an alum to get her name escapes me, but yeah. So , um, we were, my mom , um, had season tickets and she just kept her season tickets. And when I, when I started playing for the sparks, she still had them. So for me, I didn't have to give her those tickets. And she, you know, and I know exactly where her seats were . Every time I looked at the, or we had the , um, the song that was played before the game, the national Anthem , um, I always made sure I make eye contact with her way to her . Cause I knew where we were on the floor where she was. And so, yeah, it was it's actually, you know, she, she, she had been sick it's she built the momentum for me. She exposed me to the environment and then again, full circle to be just standing on the court and looking at my seats, you know, seats that I've watched championships won. And, you know, seeing players go through the tunnel and sign autographs and I remembered that stuff. And so as a player, I made sure that if I could throw a sneaker to a kid or if I can sign something or give my headband to I'm like Lisa, Leslie used to do this, like, this is, you know, this is what I'm supposed to do as a player. Um, solos . It was really cool. I learned a lot, you know,

Collin Kushner:

I love the fact that giving a fan, you know, a piece of, again, like a, an armband or a shoe or something, because you know, it's going to make that kid's day. And on top of it looking up, you know , at your old seats and seeing your mom there, it, it makes me reflect back to my hockey days. I could sometimes when I close my eyes, I could hear my dad knocking on the glass. Cause I was a goalie. I'm a , I was a five, 10 goalie people look at me and they're like, dude, you played goalie. They said , yeah, you can't tell. Um, but it's weird though, because when I look back at my career and I close my eyes, I don't really remember like games per se, but I remember just like the knocking on the glass or like great save Colin . And those are the memories that in the moment you just keep, you're like, ah , shut up dad. But man, I'll never forget that

Noelle Quinn:

You bring up like moments and same with, you know, we're talking about our Bish, my vision Montgomery days, I don't remember stats, but I don't remember moments. I got , I remember I was the , you remember the championships being an article arena at that time. And um, you know, you remember that, but most importantly , you remember how you feel like you remember the joy. I got, remember losing that championship game and a lot for women and the tears that I saw for my teammates, but then coming back and winning state, their resiliency that we had. Like, I don't remember exactly every single game, every single statistic. But you remember just that feel that you have with your teammates , um, those moments with your parents, like I'll never, you know, not gonna ever forget having, having always made eye contact with my mom or, you know, my aunt, my uncle, who I grew up with, he actually had floor seats , um, you know, as we were kids. And so I remember, you know, I I'll go up to him after every game and hug him. So those are the things that just last , um, statistics. So w you know, championships and, you know, record books, those lasts as well. But those moments it's like, you never forget those feelings.

Collin Kushner:

That's why I'm enjoying this. I mean, I'm enjoying this conversation for so many reasons, but that's the part that I love hearing from you, Noel , because again, if you never played sports, I think there's this assumption, which one should never assume that you remember that night where you score it 40 points, right? Or you remember that day where you won a championship and , and yeah, you do remember it, but it's those small minute details of life. Whether it be looking up at your mom, hugging a family member after the game, or the smell of the locker room, as you're lacing up your shoes, those are the memories that, that live on forever. And that's something that I want people that who just never played sports to understand that that holds more weight than anything else that you do.

Noelle Quinn:

I try to talk to my kids about that too. Actually, I just expressed that yesterday to them , you know, it is a tough time , um, being on zoom and having to go work out and not really knowing what our season is going to look like, or what have you. I, I understand that, but we can't take for granted the fact that we have lambs and all that work, you know, we're able to breathe air. We're able to , um, you know, put our work in and it's not the correct, you know , not the ideal way, but when we are together, we should work hard. And we should enjoy that moment because these are moments that we can never get back. But these are also moments that we will never , um , that we will always remember. And so I just try to instill that even when we are , when we are together , um, um, on the court and things like that, of that nature, I'm always stressing the importance of valuing each other as a teammate and valuing our time together. Because every year our team looks different every year. Um , something different will happen and you don't want to just be like, again, dang, I wish I would've just spent a little more time with this teammate, man. I wish I would've just had this conversation with this person. And so that is important. It is important.

Collin Kushner:

They will never forget the impact you're having on them by taking the approach that you had . It goes again, whether or not you feel like they're , they're grasping, grasping it . They are. It's just like with, with parents growing up, I don't know about you, but I didn't think my parents do anything about life. And then sure enough, 10 years after they would tell me something, it all just clicked. And I would look at my brother and say they were right. So it may not be an instantaneous in the moment, but trust me, and you already know five 10, who knows it will all click. And they'll say, wow, coach Quinn knew what she was talking about.

Noelle Quinn:

Okay. Thanks. Thanks for that reassurance. Because some days I'm like, Oh my God . Yeah , you hear me?

Collin Kushner:

Don't you love it when the mic is permanently turned off and you're talking and they're all just

Noelle Quinn:

Right. Yes. Or this one, all you're on mute. You're on mute coach.

Collin Kushner:

Oh my God . Are you wait, are you the one though on the zoom call where you're , where you're legitimately on mute and you're talking

Noelle Quinn:

Love . Okay . No, I've learned. I learned very quickly. And so I , you know, I , at other than like, okay, let me make sure I press this unmute button first .

Collin Kushner:

You did win a w NBA title with Seattle 2018. And again, as we talked about the importance of those small moments, small moments, but when you have the dream of playing in the w w MBA and finally wasting that trophy , um, did that kind of put a bow on, on things you're trying to accomplish as a player?

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think that was one thing that I hadn't done is when a WBA championship , um, what I'm most proud about though is just like who I won the championship with. Um, legit, my friends, my homeys , and I care about each and every one of them , um , our coaching staff and our organization. Like I just , um , I'm so happy that I won it in Seattle, just because it just mattered, mattered more. Um, uh , because of who I was surrounded by , um, and to, to cap off a career with the championship, I think it's like riding off on my horse , um, and saying like, you know , um, you know, I had amazing time. I had , um, amazing teammates throughout my career, did some very good things. Um, and to ultimately , uh, win the prize, like no one can ever take away the fact that I'm a WNB champion. Um, you can, you know, if they will, you weren't at all star or you didn't get MVP . And I , I didn't get all these individual accolades. Um, but I did win a championship and that's something that not a lot of people are able to do within their career. Um, obviously I know we're probably hit on it, but in 2020 winning a championship as a coach, it's like, it's different because my role was different. But again, I think the people make it more fulfilling. Um, and who we're with. I think we have a , a very , um, amazing culture, this, this, this buzzword culture that a lot of sports teams and coaches use, but I mean, the way in which, you know, our best players are our hardest workers and we all have to fall in line because of that. Um, our, our, our ownership group is a group of women who are really impactful in the community and with our , um, with our storm organization , um, our general manager. She's amazing. And so the leadership from the top trickles down to the bottom and has cultivated this culture. And so, you know, going back to 2018, man, like as a player, it was just, you know, you, you want to do so much for your franchise because you know, how much they believe in you,

Collin Kushner:

How did you celebrate that first WNBA title?

Noelle Quinn:

Oh, we were actually on the road. Um, and so we w I think the owners like , um , bought out kind of like a , a bar type area. I'm going to be honest. I was kind of like a party pooper in that , because our flight was early in the morning, like , okay. And my mom was actually flew out. Um, and so funny. Um, she came to our playoff games, so we played Phoenix in the semis in DC, in the finals. And so my mom , my mom came to our games in Seattle. And then I guess she comes to Phoenix. I can't remember if she came to Phoenix, but like Brianna Stewart and Juul boy , um , per game five, they're like golden get golden to our game. She's like , good luck charm. My , so my mom flew out and she was at game five. And I remember, cause I didn't, I didn't play much that year, that 2018 year. So it was game five. We were down like double digits early. And she was , she had a good seat. She was sitting directly across from the bench. And I looked at her like, Oh gosh,

Collin Kushner:

Love the positivity.

Noelle Quinn:

Okay. Not that we're going to lose, but we're in trouble. Like, and then she just gave me this calming look like you guys are okay. And , and I was not verbalized, I didn't say anything. It was just my look versus her look gave me so much comfort. And then if you add the game is obviously documented, but amazing comeback. Diana Taurasi went off to Burt , went off and we, we won game five obviously, but just to have my mom there. And so now Sui and doing like, Nope, she has to come to DC. She's our good luck charm. So we play, you know, we have home court advantage. Um, and then we are a game three , um, was there. And obviously she was able to be a part of that too, which was super cool. So fast forward to going back to the party and like in , you know, yeah, we love, we want my mommy , you ready? Got to get up. I don't want to keep up , you know, older, you know, but she's whatever you want to do. So , um , partied a little bit and then got on an early flight. Um, but the, to me, what was very cool as the parade and that's that day was school to just be on the, the route in say hi to our fans and have our rally at key arena. Um, that was pretty cool as well.

Collin Kushner:

Did you take the trophy hoisted up and give and give a yell? You don't strike me as a yeller person .

Noelle Quinn:

No , I just I'm like the , the touch touch the trophy, like yeah. Good job lady. Put

Collin Kushner:

A microphone on so we can take what you're saying, man .

Noelle Quinn:

Exactly. Right. Yeah. Got to take a picture with it and things like that, but yeah. Um , I'm just like the chill celebrator, I should say,

Collin Kushner:

Hey, I get it to some people like to go like rock Avenue. Some people like to take more of a Noel Quinn approach and you can't go wrong with either, but I love how your mom was the good luck charm and your teammates are like, we need your mom to go to this game and we need your mom to go to this game. And your mom's probably like, heck yeah.

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. She was the, let me say she was exhausted after the playoffs. So we got back to Seattle and she, she was cause she had been traveling for a couple of weeks straight, whatever, back and forth. So after the parade and things like she w we're in Seattle and she's just like laying down, like dead tired. I see . Had she had enough, you know what I mean? But she really took ownership in that good luck charm and she loved that. So it was great to experience that with her

Collin Kushner:

Transitioned from player to coach. Why did you decide to, to veer away from playing and transition into coaching? Was there a particular reason involved?

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. Similar to how I got started at Bishop , um , the owner, one of the owners, Lisa Lisa Brummel was like, this was not even after 2018, it might've been in 2017. She was just like, whenever you're done playing, we don't know when that will be. We want you to come back and coach. Um, and we see this in you , you see how you operate with like the rats . I, you know, I'm always talking to the reps on the side or you see how you are and the huddles and with your teammates. And if that's something that interests you. And at that point I was coaching high school at the time. So they knew that that was kind of like something coaching was in my pocket, you know? Um, and they wanted to present that opportunity to me. So , um, that was a blessing for me because , um , to be, I was coaching my Bishop while I was still playing. And within that, I realized that I have a passion for teaching basketball, so that time to the student athletes , um, and then within like my experiences I found out, okay, this is pretty cool. I'm pretty good at it. You know what I mean? Um, and as you, as I was thinking, you know, in this kind of limbo, okay. Like , um , I've played 12 seasons, like I've exceeded the average career in the WVA just won a championship. Like, what else do I need to accomplish as a player? Um, that gave me comfort in knowing that I had people who , um, trusted in me who were so confident in me and my ability and I hadn't even stepped foot on a WBA court as a coach. Um, and so just feeling empowered by others again, similar to how Mr . Libin and Mr. Miller empowered me to help coach at Bishop. Um, I think it just, the timing was great and it just was that time to transition. And I experienced, I know a lot of players who have this transition period where they don't know what they want to do and they take time and they, you know, no knock on anyone, but, you know, they'd go try to figure out if it's a nine to five or they become an entrepreneur or whatever it is. Um, they have this time, this transition time, and it's not always like fulfilling or successful. And so I'm like, let me take advantage of this transition into my next career to see if I even like it , first of all. But also because the opportunity presents itself, I don't want to have a nine to five right now. Um, and so it just in that decision, it was just easier because it's going back to the place that I love the organization that I love, but also I had been owning my skills, ambition, Montgomery as , um, and learning how to coach in that, in that arena. So that's how I came to my decision.

Collin Kushner:

Was it hard to leave the playing aspect behind, even though, like you said you had checked every single box that you possibly could as a player?

Noelle Quinn:

No, my first year of coaching , um, you know, obviously I'm fresh off playing and things like that. And they're like, do you miss playing? And I'm watching training camp and the drills that we used to do, I'm like, no, I don't miss that . My whole body does not miss that. I don't, I don't miss that physical, like gross brutality that we're putting on our bodies. I do not miss going on a plane riding for 12 to 14 hours to go play overseas and packing my bags over packing . And , um, the smell of like the , the , the, the airports, you know , I don't miss at all, but not in a bad way. I think I'm just like content with where I am. Um, I , I'm still able to like, you know, very much play with my girls at Bishop. If I need to run around and show them I still got it or whatever. Um, the storm needs me to, you know, run if we don't have our scout guys, like, I'm still very much able to do that. And I'm content with that. I don't, I don't the only thing I would probably miss is the comradery in the locker room and the group checks, but my teammates, you know, those are probably the only things, but as far as just like , um, being, you know, being in a position, my mind, body, soul spirit of being just like, yeah, I'm ready to move on. Like, that's where I was at and I don't regret it. And I feel like I stepped away at a time where I could have very much played another year or two . I feel bad that way. I really do, honestly, if it presented itself. But , um, I don't think that was like my path at that moment. So

Collin Kushner:

Was there ever a moment your first year as an assistant in Seattle where you're on the sideline and you forget that you're a coach and you end up going on the floor as a player?

Noelle Quinn:

Uh, no.

Collin Kushner:

When your teammates are looking at you like Noel yeah .

Noelle Quinn:

Your, your doors that way. Uh , no, no. I got the lead , the land , I think because I'm a soaker familiar with like, you know, this is where the coaches go. This is where the players go. The only thing that was different was just like entering into the coach's office. Like, this is so weird, you know, like, Oh, this is what the office really looks like. I don't really be up there like that. But , um, yeah. And I think it was just, it was just, like I said, I was coaching my homeys . Like I was coaching my friends. I was coaching my teammates. So it was just so it was easy. It was an easy transition. They already had that respect level. And so for me, it might've been easier for me to say something to them. There may be another coach because it's, it's, it's , uh , it's coming from a different , um, vehicle, so to speak from a different voice , um, and I can kind of relate differently. Um, so I think that was kind of my advantage. Honestly.

Collin Kushner:

I like how you use that as an advantage, because my initial thought would be, that would be tough to tell a friend or teammate, Hey, you need to, you know this or, Hey, you need to do that. Um, I think some might think, find that to be daunting. I would, if I had to tell friends, Hey, you need to, you need to do this and you need to do that. I don't know if I can .

Noelle Quinn:

No, I tell you, but I think I was doing it already as a player. You know, I was like, eh , I just remember one time, like Juul can attest to this jewel Lloyd . I'm just like, what'd you all today? What's going on like snap out of it. But it comes from a place of love and it comes from a place of like, we need you, you know, we don't, we need you at your bets. And because I did have the player now, it's just like, I can do it as a coach. Cause I've done it for so many years as a player, you know?

Collin Kushner:

And this is the part that , that I love. Why did you go back to your Alma mater, Bishop Montgomery and decide to give back to a school that obviously gave you so much ?

Noelle Quinn:

So initially I came back to Bishop , um, you know, the WB has this , um, internship program where you pick , uh , a field that you are interested in after basketball. Um, and you have to have actually a 40 hour work week work week, which I found was like, Oh, this is a lot of hours. It's a lot. Hold on, hold on. Um, so, you know, I contacted Andy and , um, I was like, Hey, like they at the WPA has this program. You know, I would love to come back to Bishop and work actually in the athletic directing office. And so connected me to whoever I need to connect with. Um, and so within that, I was actually just coming back to, to, to internship and see if I enjoyed , um, this realm of , um, you know, this field of athletic directing. And so as I, as they, they got wind of the fact that I wanted to come back on campus. Um, you know, something was happening with the girls basketball program and then Ms [inaudible] and Mr. Miller were like, Hey, can you help us with something? And I'm big on, you know, giving back, like those that, that environment, that school, those people they're the people there . Um, they just blessed me in so many ways. They, they encourage me, they, they, they had this amazing environment. And so I'm like, I wasn't anything for you guys. And so within that , um, that's how I got kind of starting coaching at Bishop. Um, I was called jadedness , like intern interning. Um, so yeah, I think the biggest thing for me was that my experience, my four years at Bishop were so amazing that I had, there was no doubt in my mind that I didn't want to a come back to work there or internship there, but B just be a part of who they are again, because that just doesn't leave you the community aspect of it, the intimate, like school setting, it's a small school. Um, the fact that we know everybody and the teachers know us and all those things like that matter to me. Um, and so to be able to then , um, show the younger generation, how much pride I had from my school , um, how things, you know, what it means to be a lady night or a night. Um, I, I wouldn't pass up on an opportunity to do that because that's what I'm called to do. Like I talked about servitude I'm serving. So I , I learned someone gave to me, I didn't give to others.

Collin Kushner:

Was there a sense of nostalgia when you walked back into the gym at BM BMHS for the first time and you see all the banners you helped contribute your Jersey from Bishop and UCLA is up there as well. Did you kind of , was it, I don't want to say the word weird because that's not the right term book , but was it a little like, Whoa, like a throwback in time?

Noelle Quinn:

Yes. Um, first of all, our locker rooms still smell the same from like , um , just like how they bottled this scent up and just re it's just like the natural sense of the locker room into the gym.

Collin Kushner:

I saw it at seven 11. They have it's called the night, the BMHS night sent . I saw it, it was, it was too expensive for me to purchase. So

Noelle Quinn:

Perfect . Be legendary. Yes. Knight excellence, all of that. Um, yeah. And, you know, I find it's so interesting. Like I talk about this a lot. Like my jerseys are kind of everywhere in the gym and I don't, sometimes I purposely don't look up there because I don't want somebody to be like, Hey, coach , grant , why are you staring at your journal ?

Collin Kushner:

See, I would, I would call you out for that for sure.

Noelle Quinn:

So I was like, I'm not making eye contact with my journeys where the simple fact, like it's just like in a , I , I just don't want to be the person that's just like thinking, get big headed and things like that. But when I'm in the gym alone, a lot of times I just find myself looking up and I think, you know, the impact that I had on Bishop's campus, not only, you know, on the basketball court, but in the classroom too, I was in honors and AP classes. That's what it was tough, but that impact that I had , um, on the court , um , in the classroom with Mark our community, I think it just makes it more fulfilling for me. I, that, you know, it also gives me a chance to, to boost with , um, I am trying to exude to my girls and that I can say, Hey, look up at the wall. I did it like, if you want to question me and question, you know, our methods and questions , like whatever it is, just look up and understand that you have a coach who has done , um , a lot of things and it has done what you're trying to do and accomplish . And so listen to me, I kind of use that as a teaching tool, but I mean, again, it's just humbling to be able to have my jerseys up there. Um, a lot of hard work , um, a lot of hard, tough times, a lot of tears that came with that too , a lot of sleepless nights. Um, but the good outweighs the bad. And , um, I love that, that I will always have , um, a piece of myself at that school at all times.

Collin Kushner:

I love it. And I really do love the fact that you're coaching and the w MBA. And then in the off season, you come back to Los Angeles and you coach a fish Montgomery high school. And because again, I think many think, Oh, professional athlete or a coach you're just hanging out or just relaxing or catching up. But like you said, it goes back to , to service. You are literally going back to your Alma mater and trying to help shape the next group of great women.

Noelle Quinn:

I think that's what life is about. Right. And I think I hopefully the next crop of , um, basketball prayers , um, that , um, that I have the honor of coaching, maybe they in turn, come back and take my spot, or, you know what I mean? I think it's, it becomes , um, a cycle and hopefully, you know, I , I think about my ability to help others and I wouldn't have it any other way if I have, if I am blessed to have an opportunity to coach and all year round , um, I will take that opportunity and I will put my all into it. Like I don't do anything halfway. Um, so when I'm in it, I'm in it. When I met, when I'm here in the off season for Doug and NBA and Bishop I'm fully invested in my girls. And the same thing, you know, I have my assistant coaches are amazing. They take over the summer when I'm gone. And then when I'm with the WPA , I'm fully invested in what I'm doing. Um, and so I just, I just went over in that way. Like, I want to be helpful to anyone who I can help. Um, and if I'm able to continue to serve in that way and continue to uplift , um , in encouraged , um, inviting , um, um, like that's kind of what, where I live in my purpose.

Collin Kushner:

This goes against our conversation about living in the moment, but your future in coaching, what are your personal goals and what do you see for yourself in the future?

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. Um, I've asked this question probably a few weeks ago and because like, I didn't pursue coaching, coaching kind of fell in my lap. It's hard for me to say what I want to do and what, what I want to accomplish and what , what my goals are because it was legit, something that other people saw in me, you know? So it's kind of , I didn't, I didn't search out . I didn't say, Hey, I want to be a coach. Like this is the lane I want to go. This is the path I want. I want this for my life. This is my goal. I , I don't have that right now. I'm very much, honestly, I'm living in the moment. I'm taking it day by day. I'm trying to get better at what I do. Um, you know, S always studying the game , um, you know , um, reading books or, you know, figuring out ways to that we can be successful. I think I'm constantly thinking about that when I'm not. So I'm not really thinking about future and what that holds for me as a coach. I think honestly, if I do my best every day where I am, it will write itself and I will have an opportunity to, and I'll have other opportunities or I have , um, you know, other goals or whatever that may be. But right now, my goal on a daily basis is to , um, just coach the young women that I'm able to coach , um, you know, give my all into that every day. And then we'll see where that takes me.

Collin Kushner:

You hit on a point that's so important, and it's similar to how I like to live my life, which is if you , you work hard and you do good for others, the rest will write itself. Um, and, and what that looks like though, we don't know. Um, you know, for me, I was a TV sports anchor reporter, and I never thought that my career would transition as a video producer over at Yahoo, but, but it did. And sometimes when I'm feeling down or I'm feeling frustrated, I always kind of go back to the Hey, Colin, if you continue to work hard, help others and do good, the rest will write itself in, in some way, shape or form. And I think , um, I think it's a beautiful way to live your life. And that's why I love what you're doing, because that's, it's going to lead to great things. It's just, we don't know what that looks like.

Noelle Quinn:

Thank you. I appreciate that. And at the same time, I understand the importance of having goals. Um, and a lot of people talk about writing goals, but as you're alluding to, when you, when you give your all, and you're , you're a good person and you're, you are doing it from a good place, then those opportunities, the , the , the opportunities may exceed what you write and the goals that you have. Like, you, you may be limiting yourself by saying, I want to do this going into , this is too small for you and not, I mean, like you, you met the, or people may think, you know, you want to be a high school coach. Maybe, maybe you need to dream bigger. You know? So I don't, I never want to get caught up in writing my goals because I don't want my goals to be too small. And so I'm just like that, take me where you want to take me. But also I had envisioned I was asleep . You know, you do have to say, you know, maybe you do want to be someplace in five or 10 years, but for me personally, I'm just like, I don't even, I just, I just want the opportunity to come about, give me my options and have the timing aligned with that and, and make it like curtail it or edit it toward, you know, it was beneficial for me and my family and just go from there. But I don't want, I don't even want to limit myself by setting small goals.

Collin Kushner:

Noel , if you could go back in time, what would you tell a young Noel Quinn? I would probably say

Noelle Quinn:

It's okay to come up for air a little bit, you know, stop and smell the roses. Um, I think I really sacrificed a lot in that. Um, you know, I wasn't the young lady that was out at the party and he's , and , you know, maybe I would go to the football games , but wasn't really hanging out after that. Um, I was strictly like school and sports and family obviously, but , um, you know, even at lunchtime, a lot of times I was in the library doing my homework because I knew that I had practice after school. I knew that, you know , um, my commute 30 minute commute, I just, I try to get on top of things. And so I sacrificed hanging out at lunch. Um, so do my work. And I think that's actually one characteristic of me that I liked. I liked my work ethic in high school. I did. Um, and then it carried over to college even. I think if I had the opportunity to maybe make more friends outside of sports, you know, I'd say, just take the time to come up for air. Sometimes I think it's important to have balance in life. I'm not saying that I didn't have a balance, but I was so focused on what I needed to do that, you know, I didn't get in trouble , trouble. I didn't, you know, you know, do the normal, like teenage things that would probably do though. I was, you know, you know, what happens your high school, things like that. But , um, I just, I would really just say , um , it's okay to really , um, not have to have you , your mind turned on 24 seven with goals, aspirations, or basketball school , um, finishing projects, whatever that may be. So just, I would just enjoy a little bit more.

Collin Kushner:

I'm going to put you on the spot here for a second. What would you like to tell your mom

Noelle Quinn:

I'll preface this by saying, I just talked to my friend about this last night. I think something about the pandemic has made me make sure I like communicate with her more texts or more, make sure she knows. I love her more, like tell her how much she's appreciated more. And when I'm, when I'm in her presence, I just focus on her more. Like I'm literally like look at her and soak it all in because I don't like, I don't, I don't want to be like texting and she's talking to me and then, you know, the next moment I'm like, dang, I wish I have , you know, I think, you know, this pandemic has , um, showed me who's important in my life and what's important in my life and who matters and what matters. And my mom matters to me. And so I can say, I can honestly say today, I am being more intentional about making sure she knows how much I love her and how much she's done for me and how much I , um , how much I live my life to make sure that she's proud of me and an example that she would , um, that she's , she would be proud of. And so I would tell her, thank you, you know, thank you for being an example. Thank you for working to put me in the position that you have , um, to , um, you know, sacrifice what you did to provide for me and my sister and our family. I would thank her for just her consistency and loving me. I would thank her for her consistency and showing up. I would thank her for , um , who she is because who she is is, is so much of who I am. And I mean, she , she knows this, but I tell her all the time, she's super woman to me, my mom, now she's 74. She looks about 50. So thank you for the deans as well. Um, but I just feel like it is now my duty to give back to her in a way that is fulfilling to her, not necessarily monetarily, but , um, with this is showing her love and appreciation because I do not want to live knowing that I missed the moment with her. And I told her the other day, I said, I can't imagine my life without you. I had to text her that because I was just like, it was on my heart to tell her that. And I don't want to imagine that. And I know one day it may come, but it's just like, she has impacted my life in such a way that is like, I will never forget it. And I hope to impact someone else's life in that manner.

Collin Kushner:

I love that you're having these conversations and this open dialogue with your mom and just leaving, leaving everything on the table. That way there's never that, Oh, I wish I would have said this, or I wish I would've said that. And that , that is a beautiful thing. And something many of us can, can learn from an intake moving forward.

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. That's , she's my life. Like, she's my rock. She's pairing my sister, like have, you know, my heart for sure. Um, and you know, I, you know, her name is golden queen, so I'm just like that. There's a song called , uh , by Joe style living my life, like it's golden. Right. And I always, sometimes when I think about my mom and dad, I'm just like, yeah, I want to live my life like golden because it is golden. You know what I mean? I don't have , um, I'm so blessed, like good, bad and different. Like, I've had some adversity, I have these things, but like I said, the good outweighs the bad. And she is , uh , a big reason for that. Like if not the reason for that,

Collin Kushner:

I love it. Noel Quinn, BMHS hall of Famer, UCLA hall of Famer w NBA champ. You want a championship overseas. You want another WMCA championship as a coach, as an assistant coach , uh, over in Seattle. Thank you so much for taking the time. I really loved chatting with you and hearing your story.

Noelle Quinn:

No problem. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. Uh , once a night, always a night, once a ruin, always a ruin . Um, I appreciate having this dialogue. Um, we touched on some great things, so thank you. I appreciate you calling .

Collin Kushner:

I hope I didn't embarrass you with that ending because it goes back to the introduction as well, where you're like, you could have just said that I love basketball and I'm a coach now.

Noelle Quinn:

Yeah. Yes . It's a subtle reminder that I've done these things, but you could have just kept it simple

Collin Kushner:

Or more interesting stories of former athletes. Check out Hayward. You go on Apple podcasts, Spotify in a video version on YouTube. Plus don't forget to check it out on social media. That's at Colin Cushner on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] .